Bollywood With a Gaelic Twist Comes To Belladrum 2018

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Wednesday May 9 2018

A troupe of Gaelic-speaking Bollywood dancers from Staffin in the North of the Isle of Skye are set to perform at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (Beauly, Inverness-shire; 2-4th August) which has a Bollywood theme this year.

Six years ago, Davinder and Sonia Gill moved from London to run Mackenzie stores, a filling station and grocery shop in the remote community of Staffin.

Since then the Gills have introduced take-away food to the store and their two youngest children, Heaven (8) and Prayr (7) have joined as pupils at Staffin Primary School.

Before moving North, Sonia was a dancer in Bhangra and Bollywood groups and performed all over the UK in many shows including at the Dome in Birmingham for the Bhangra Awards.

In Skye, the troupe she coaches, Staffin Bollywood, started as a fund-raiser for the SkyeDance Festival whose organisers were so impressed they asked the dancers to take part in the festival showcase.

Now they have been invited to perform at Scotland’s premier camping festival.

Up to 15 children out of the 20 in the school participate, their ages ranging between P1 and P7, all dressed in different Bollywood outfits.

Rehearsing weekly at the school, and Sonia says they are now looking into fusing Gaelic songs with Bollywood music.

The first dance performances in this genre could be at Belladrum this year.

“I go through the different styles of dance when teaching, not only Bollywood as it is important for them to have versatility when dancing,” says Sonia (pictured). 

“The kids learn about Indian culture, food, clothes, music, traditions - and of course dance as there are so many variations of dance - giving a different visual result.

“I learn from them as well - every day is a lesson.”

“Sonia’s troupe is the perfect answer to a prayer for us, given that our theme is Bollywood and we are all about being a family event for a Highlands wide audience,” said promoter Joe Gibbs.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming them.”

Together with their other two children, Angel (18) and Dream (17), the Gill family are thrilled with their life in Skye.

“Skye is an amazing place, a great place to raise children and to be a part of the community.

“People are so nice - we live the dream as it is such a beautiful place,” said Sonia.



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